President Emmerson Mnangagwa has today visited Chimanimani – the epicentre of the devastating Cyclone Idai – and has assured the affected communities that none will die of hunger as government was seized with mobilising all the necessary requirements to assist them.
On arrival in Chimanimani, the President was briefed by members of the defence forces on how Cyclone Idai struck in the area, killing and injuring many people and destroying bridges, roads, schools and houses, among other infrastructure.
“Hatidi kunzwa kuti pane munhu afa nenzara. Ndonzwa kuti mhuri dzakaenda, mombe dzakaenda, kwava nenhamo yakakura mudzimuri. Ndichiku UAE (United Arab Emirates), ndanzwa nyaya idzi mutungamiri weko vakafungawo kuti vangabatsira neyi, vakati vachatibatsira. (We do not want to hear that there is someone who died of hunger. I heard that lives were lost, cattle were lost, and there is great distress in families. Whilst I was still in the UAE, having heard about the tragedy, the leader of the UAE pledged to assist us),” said President Mnangagwa.
“Shamwari dzedu sa President weku Tanzania vaMagufuli vakati shamwari tanzwa njodzi iyi tikati hongu ndokubva vatumira mishonga, zvekufuka nezvimwe…ndege hombe yakasvika nezuro kubva ku Tanzania. Mamwe mazindege makuru achasvika na 4pm kubva ku UAE. (Our friends like President Magufuli of Tanzania yesterday sent a plane loaded with various items such as medicine, blankets….Some big planes from UAE are arriving at 4pm today,)” he added.
President Mnangagwa explained that the tragedy occurred after he had left for a business trip to Abu Dhabi meant to deepen bilateral ties between the two countries.
He said Vice President Chiwenga then informed him while in the UAE that disaster had struck back home and people had lost lives while infrastructure had been destroyed, prompting him to cut short his visit.
The President commended the defence forces, police and other security arms for working tirelessly to open roads that had been blocked by the cyclone, although some are still being worked on.
He expressed gratitude to church organisations across the country, the corporate sector and individuals for responding to calls to assist those affected.
“Tavenezvakawanda zvatova kwaMutare, dambudziko raverekutakura. Ma helicopter edu nhasi achange achiunza chikafu kuno. (A lot of material, include food items, to assist you is already in Mutare with the challenge now being how to bring it to you. Since the weather is now favourable, helicopters will be busy bringing food to you today),” he said.
President Mnangagwa commended the local legislator for Chimanimani East Cde Joshua Sacco for coordinating relief efforts before the government taskforce came from the capital.
He revealed that medical supplies to deal with possible disease outbreaks – like malaria or diarrheal diseases – are being brought to Mutare and Health and Child Care Minister Obediah Moyo is coordinating that process.
The President said all damaged infrastructure will be rehabilitated.
“Ma bridge ose aya ataratidzwa tichitenderera…tinavo ma engineer edu, tirikuronga kuti ma bridge aya avakwe patsva asi avakwe akasimba. (We have engineers and we are planning to repair all the damaged bridges, but we also think these should be rebuilt in such a way that they are strong),” President Mnangagwa said.
He said government will be looking into the construction of strong houses which can withstand such disasters.
He pledged government’s assistance in the rehabilitation of one of the schools affected by Cyclone Idai, St Charles Lwanga High School, so that learning can resume.